Know the team behind The Ogham Stone (post #2)

As promised, we are back with a series of interviews with the members of The Ogham Stone team. Enjoy the spread and please watch this space next week for more!

Yao Tang says:

  • What are your reasons for doing this MA?
    I enrolled into this MA for improving my level of English and studying literature for my own work.
  • How do you feel about doing the Ogham Stone Project?
    It is a little difficult for me, as a foreigner, but I feel comfortable because the members of our team take care of me very considerately.
  • I know it’s early days, but do you have a favourite bit of this project? What is it, and why do you like it?
    I like to share the highlights of some poems with my teammates. They told me some unique meanings of words only suitable for the very situation mentioned in the poem.
  •  What are your hopes for the project?
    I hope I can know what a real Irish magazine is like. In China, magazines are not popular any more.

Tracy Culleton says:

  • What are your reasons for doing this MA?

So many. The first is that I feel the lack of ever having had formal 3rd level education and am finally healing that lack now. The second is that although I have been studying this craft for all my adult life really, you never know what you don’t know, so looking for guidance and direction from it. Also, this wasn’t my reason for doing it as I didn’t realise it would be an element, but finding great value in studying so much English literature too, which was another gap in my knowledge

  • How do you feel about doing the Ogham Stone Project?

To be honest, I wasn’t originally thrilled to say the least.  It seemed a distraction from writing and learning about writing. I know both writing and publishing are the same industry, but they’re different ends of the industry. Having said that, I am really enjoying working with Carrie and also the others on the Communications Group, and it is very interesting to see the process from the other side of the desk

  • I know it’s early days, but do you have a favourite bit of this project? What is it, and why do you like it?

My favourite bit is the way we can, as a team, influence the shape of the Ogham Stone, but literally (as in design decisions) and metaphorically. The Ogham Stone is in its early days and so we are on the ground floor of creating something that promises to be very exciting.

  • What are your hopes for the project?

I hope that we can do a good job, that is professional and business-like but which also contributes to the cultural landscape of Ireland, and of creative writing, in even a small way.

  • What skills and interests are you hoping to bring to this project?

I have some experience in organising websites and a small business, so I think that’s the place I’m best located in.

Conor McCarthy says:

  • What are your Reasons for doing this MA?

I love writing and have been studying it for the past four years. I see this as a chance to grow my portfolio and meet successful authors.

  • How do you feel about doing the Ogham Stone project?

I’m excited to have a chance to put my name to something that will appear in print and to help others achieve the same.

  •  I know it’s early days, but do you have a favourite bit of this project? What is it, and why do you like it?

I’ve loved reading all of the entries and experiences the diverse voices and styles of the authors.

  • What are your hopes for the project?

That we’ll create something that will endure and give a platform to some very talented writers.

  • What skills and interests are you hoping to bring to this project?

My experience in fiction writing and love of the short story.

Grainne O’Brien says:

  • What are your reasons for doing this MA?

I just decided it was time I make writing my priority for the year. The MA program is a wonderful opportunity to do that.

  • How do you feel about doing The Ogham Stone project?

I think it’s a wonderful, chaotic idea. We will create something together we can be proud of. It can be a humbling experience to see how much work goes into something like this and the range of talent that is out there. And writers can always use a bit of humbling.

  • I know it’s early days, but do you have a favourite bit of this project? What is it, and why do you like it?

The magazine is a space for us to see the ‘other side’ of the process. You see how many submissions we get. Now you can understand why publishers and agents can’t take on everyone. So many people have a voice. So many want to be heard and we just can’t publish them all.

  • What are your hopes for the project?

That it’s gets published with everyone still alive.

  • What skills and interests are you hoping to bring to this project?

I already have a literary magazine called Silver Apples. I’m quite enjoying having so many people to chat to about this project. I just want to produced the best quality magazine we can and more importantly ENJOY doing it.

Stephen Murphy says:

  • How do you feel about doing The Ogham Stone project?

I’ve spent a good part of the past few years writing and performing across various stages, but I’ve also edited books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. I’m currently in the poetry committee with partial responsibility for what will eventually go in to the Ogham Stone, and in many ways it’s similar to my previous years spent judging various poetry competitions that I won’t name for fear of offending anybody who might have entered but didn’t win..

  • I know it’s early days, but do you have a favourite bit of this project? What is it, and why do you like it?

My favourite parts of the project so far are both the grit involved in putting it together, and the standard of entries we’ve had the privilege of reading. The volume of submissions was enormous, so to whittle it down hasn’t been easy, but between the lot of us it’s generated huge debate over what should make the grade and what shouldn’t, all the way down to what makes some poetry stand out from the crowd more than others. The conversation has been lively and informative, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the final poems are.

  • What are your hopes for the project?

My hope is that eventually we’ll manage to work our way through the massive amount of work we have ahead of us to put together a book that can stand the test of time. So much of modern living is fleeting and instant, so if we can capture something timeless and present it to the world I’d be delighted.

Lauren Preston says:

  • How do you feel about doing The Ogham Stone project?

I have been published in a few literary journals, but this will be the first time I am getting to work behind the scenes. I am eager to bring my knowledge of being a writer to the position of being an editor. I think I will have a sensitivity as well as an understanding of what kind of quality the literary journal requires

  • What do you like about the project?

So far I have enjoyed the team of readers in the Fiction / Memoir group and our ability to work well together.

  • What are your hopes for the project? 

I hope the project will produce a quality literary journal that can be a satisfactory outcome for both the editors in the class and the writers and artists who bravely submitted their work.

Ashley Bentley says:

  • What are your experiences coming into the project?

I contributed to the production of an online historical journal about the Irish immigrant experience in Australia last year.

  • What is your favourite part about the Ogham Stone project?

The structure of the project, for example: there has been no confusion about the allocation of responsibilities (As of yet, anyway)

  • What are your hopes for the project?

Quality over quantity is important in an exercise like this, and I don’t think people should be burdened with awkward responsibilities just because they have experience in that area.

Ciara Gordon says:

  • What are your experiences coming into the project?

I’ve done public relations for different events, so I have experience in the area of Communications, but none for the actual journal itself!

  •  What is your favourite part about The Ogham Stone project?

I’m really enjoying getting to see different perspectives from others in my group, and getting to see how a literary journal comes together.

  • What are your hopes for the project?

I hope that this experience will be equal parts enjoyable and successful for everyone involved in it, and that the launch nights will go well!

Kevin O’Connor (who likes to keep it short!) says:

I was the reporter for a community magazine “Ballinasloe Life” for 7 months, so I have experience in printing and writing for magazines
My favourite part (only part) so far is reading the submissions. It’s fun to read other people’s stories.
I hope the project wont rob me of too much sleep over the course of publication!

By Mayuri Goswami

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